Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grandpa's House

One of the strongest, best-built houses I've ever seen is the house my Grandfather built. He was an airplane pilot who did aerial mapping. Upon retiring in his 50's, he started building his house. He and my Grandmother camped in the shell of the house while he worked on it. It took him 20 years to finish. He never hired anyone to help him. He did everything--plans, plumbing, heating, electrical, septic system, masonry, carpentry. He built his home to his standards, not the state of Ohio's(no contractor's license), not the building department's(no permit), not the bank's(no mortgage), not the Feds'(no 1.6-gallon, two-flush toilets in his home).
My Grandfather lived in the tail-end of an era where personal responsibility was not only respected, it was expected. Everyone was assumed to be competent to arrange his own affairs until proven otherwise. Nowadays, people are assumed to be incompetent and we have to beg permission from hordes of bureaucrats to do anything. And one of the results is houses that are homogenous and built with minimum quality.

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